Pomegranate is one of the most important crops of southern Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is currently occupied by the Taliban. Ever since the Taliban came to power, the situation in the country has been dire. Now in the midst of this crisis, the season of famous red, juicy pomegranates has arrived in the country. Every year thousands of tons of pomegranate are exported to many countries, but this year this pomegranate is rotting. These days thousands of tons of pomegranate are rotting on the border of Pakistan.
Pomegranate trucks have been stopped on the border of Pakistan, due to which the employment of thousands of people has also been lost. Afghani pomegranate with ruddy red seeds and leathery red skin is known all over the world for its health benefits. This pomegranate is one of the most important crops of southern Afghanistan. Two months of the Taliban’s occupation of the country are about to complete. Due to this, these pomegranates have also started ripening in the midst of many ongoing crises.
15,000 laborers became useless
Haji Nani Agha, head of the Fresh Fruits Union in Kandahar, told AFP news agency, “There are 15,000 agricultural laborers in the area who have lost their jobs due to the closure of the business and now the fruits are also rotting.” Under the shade of pomegranate bushes, sacks and boxes filled with pomegranate shaped like melons are loaded on trucks.
These trucks will soon leave for the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in Spin Boldak. But the journey of many trucks that went before them ended there. Pakistan has removed sales tax on imported fruits to boost trade with its neighboring country, but has tightened restrictions for ordinary Afghans trying to cross the border.
Pakistan is trying to stop people from crossing the border illegally. This has triggered a kind of tug of war between the Pakistani authorities and the new rulers of Afghanistan.
business avenue closed
The Taliban have closed the border several times in protest. Exporters hoping to sell their products were sometimes stuck here for days and weeks in the scorching heat. It is a tragedy for the whole of Afghanistan, says Agha, because the trade of the whole of Afghanistan is done through this border. Normally 40,000 to 50,000 tonnes of products are exported through this range to Pakistan. India also receives pomegranate from Afghanistan and the import of Afghan pomegranate has increased in the last five years.
Abdul Baki Bina, a member of the Chamber of Commerce of Kandahar, said that so far only 4,490 tonnes of goods have gone out of the country. They say that these goods are waiting to be sold, but the longer it takes, the worse their quality and the more their value will fall.
Afghanistan’s agriculture sector was already suffering from drought and fighting in several provinces before the dramatic change of power two months ago. For years, previous Afghan governments backed by Western support and international grantees had persuaded farmers to replace illegal opium cultivation with the fruit. Pomegranate was one of those fruits.
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